Sunday, July 23, 2017

Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Foundation Wand

For the past year or so I've been hearing about Surratt Beauty. For anyone who hasn't heard of it, the brand was founded in 2013 by US makeup artist Troy Surratt. After studying to become a fashion illustrator, he decided to use his artistic skill to become a makeup artist. Over the Years, Troy Surratt worked under the guidance of the legendary Kevyn Aucoin and has since become one of the most sought after and well respected make up artists in the industry. While visiting Japan, he discovered new and innovative materials, textures and products that inspired him to start his own brand. After years of research Surratt found that he wanted to manufacture his products in Japan where they had the best quality materials and attention to detail. 

So now that you know a little bit about the brand, let's talk about what I bought from Surratt Beauty in Sephora in New York. I actually only ended up buying the Surreal Skin Foundation Wand (although had I more time and money I would have bought a lot more, the eyelash curler is next on my list). I'd seen this foundation mentioned countless times by makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes who is a huge fan of the brand and particularly this foundation. I had also seen Lisa Eldridge using it in one of her videos, she also wrote some of her thoughts about it on her website which you can read here. So after being endorsed by two of my favourite makeup artists I had to check it out for myself in Sephora. I colour matched myself to shade 01 (the lightest shade, of course), I tried a little on my face but I didn't buy it that day because I wanted to think about it some more and see the colour in the daylight. On our last day in New York I was doing a dash around Sephora 15 minutes before they closed and I had a list from my sister and I didn't have much time to think about it so I ended up with this in my basket. The reason I was so hesitant to buy this is because it costs $65! Yes, that's right, $65! Not only does it cost that much, that's only for 15ml/0.5oz of product, so half the amount you would usually get from a bottle of foundation. 

I've been dying to write about this foundation for the past couple of months but I wanted to try it out properly and really put it through its paces because of how much it costs. I've never spent that much on a beauty product that I can think of except possibly perfume.

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Let's begin with what this foundation is supposed to give you for your hard earned $65. It's medium to full coverage, oil free, long wearing and it comes in 15 shades. It has a built in angled, anti-bacterial brush to make application quick and easy and handy for topping up on the go. The brush apparently only needs to be washed once a month. It's supposed to reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines and is self-setting. It's also formulated without sulphates or parabens. 

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I completely agree that the formula is medium to full coverage. You can apply as much or as little of this as you desire by clicking the pen and dispensing the right amount onto the brush. You can see from the photos below that it has evened out my skin tone, and significantly reduced the appearance of my pores and any redness. That's with only one thing layer buffed out with the built in brush. It's easy enough to layer this up if you need more coverage, I don't find that it looks heavy on the skin.

It contains ingredients that help make it anti-bacterial (Phenoxyethanol) which is great for the built in brush and vitamin E to condition the skin and act as an anti-oxidant (Tocopheryl). It also contains a silicone called Cyclopentasiloxane which makes it easy to blend and also can fill in lines to give the skin a temporary plumped look. This is something to bear in mind if you're not a fan of silicones, however I don't find it has that usual silicone feeling at all. 

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bare, moisturised skin

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foundation and concealer under my eyes

So what did I think of the most expensive foundation I'v ever tried? First off, the packaging is incredibly impressive. It's clear that a great amount of thought and time has gone into developing the packaging of this foundation. The matte into glossy/shimmery case is weighted and feels expensive (whatever that means) but not too heavy that your hand gets tired when you're blending it in. The duo fibre brush is soft but that's where my love of the brush ends. There aren't that many reviews on this foundation online, I watched a few videos and read a few reviews and the majority of them said exactly what I thought. The brush just doesn't do it for me. I love the idea in theory and if you have the time to spend blending and blending it actually gives an amazing full coverage finish but for my face, the brush is far too small. In fact it's marginally bigger than the brush I use for my concealer. I found that the first time I used this I ended up blending and blending and it really annoyed me. I couldn't believe I'd spent so much money on something that was adding so much time to my makeup routine. The first time I used it I applied too much by accident so obviously that added to the problem because it took longer to blend and then it didn't wear as well as I thought it would because there was just far too much foundation on my face. 

The second time I tried it I applied less and that definitely helped but I was still annoyed that it was taking me so long to blend it in and get rid of the streaks. I did like that it was angled as I felt that helped to blend around my nose. Like most of the other reviews I read I have now taken to using it with one of my own brushes. I click the pen and apply the foundation in patches around my face with the built in brush and then blend it out with my own Zoeva face brush which is about three times the size.

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Other than the brush issue I've found that this makes my skin look amazing. I do have to powder it in the centre of my face because my t-zone gets quite oily throughout the day but if you have dry skin you could probably leave it without powering. It gives excellent coverage but I like that you can still see my skins texture and my freckles underneath it. It's very lightweight and doesn't feel like I have a full coverage foundation on at all. It wears very well and evenly and the good thing about the wand is that you could bring it out to top it up if necessary but I wouldn't ever do that really, I don't find I need to but if you have oilier skin than me you might want to top it up. 

You don't need to worry about cleaning the brush because it's made in such a way that no water or anything can get into the tube so you can wash away and it won't effect the product inside. They say it only needs to be washed once a month but personally I'd probably wash it more often than that just to make sure that the bristles don't get loaded with too much product and become less effective. 

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My final thoughts are that I love the foundation and the packaging but for me, the brush is too small. If it was twice the size I'd be much happier with spending that much money on it. I also don't know what I'm supposed to do once the wand is empty, it would feel strange throwing away something so expensive, I could use the brush for something else after all, like blush or contouring or even concealer. I understand that the expensive price is probably mostly due to the innovative packaging and the brush but I'd really love if I could buy the foundation alone, pay less and use my own brush. Or if the brush came separately and could be reused again and again. I would find it strange if I did like the built in brush to finish the foundation, throw it away and then buy a new one. It would be such a waste. I'd love to know what your thoughts are. As much as I love the formula I just couldn't justify spending another $65 on this because I just don't get the use of the brush which is half the idea of it. I also think it's far too much money to spend on only 15ml of product. 

Surratt Beauty is available online from Sephora, Liberty London, Cult Beauty and Net-a-Porter.

Just to break it down for you price wise. In Sephora I paid $65 for this which ended up working out at around €56. If you buy it from Net-a-porter is costs $65 too, but if you convert the price to buy in Euro, their price is €74, which is significantly more than what it ended up working out at for me. You can buy from Cult Beauty and Liberty London if you're based in the UK and Ireland and it costs £62 on both sites. This works out at €69/$80. Obviously as Surratt Beauty is a US brand, the price is going to be higher for anyone buying from Europe because of the import charges involved. It's something to think about if you are interested in trying out this brand.

All of that being said I'd really love to try more from the brand. Have you tried Surratt Beauty yet? What do you think of this foundation wand?

Emma x

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New York- Part Four

I'm finally bringing you the last instalment of my New York series (although that's kind of a lie because I will be writing a dedicated post about all of the places where we ate while we were there). I wasn't going to even post these photos because they're from my phone but the last two days we went to two museums and I loved both of them so I wanted to share the experiences with you all. 

Our last full day got off to a terrible start because it absolutely lashed rain for half of the day. So much so that there was no way we could have left the apartment to walk to the subway station. We had an umbrella but sadly we weren't equipped for such heavy rain so we decided to take it easy and then go get lunch in Astoria before heading into Manhattan to visit the Met. Entry to the Met was part of our City Pass so we just went up to the desk and got stickers to go in. I didn't actually realise that you can pay what you want to gain entry to the Met. The recommended price is $25 though which is something that kind of annoys me, I feel like they should either charge or just say pay what you want because from what I've heard if you pay less than $25 they don't like it. It is a good idea for those living in New York who want to go a few times a year because I guess you could just pay whatever you wanted so that it doesn't cost you $25 each time. It's such a big museum that I know if I lived there I'd want to go a few times to see more of the exhibits. 

In fact we only ended up seeing two exhibits, the Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between which actually opened while we were there ( I watched The First Monday in May on the plane so I was even more excited to go to the museum). The second was the Irving Penn: Centennial exhibition which blew me away, it was incredible to see such iconic photographs all in one place. It's actually closing soon so if you happen to be in New York and interested in photography it's a must!

I adored the Rei Kawakubo exhibit too, it was amazing to finally see one of the Costume Institute exhibitions in person, it's something I've wanted to do for years. I was conscious of the fact that I dragged Simon along to see this and I knew he wouldn't be hugely interested and it was quite crowded so we didn't stay that long, we tried to just see everything and not linger, although I could have stayed longer. We went on a Friday when the museum is open until 9pm as it is on Saturdays too, every other day it's only open until 5.30 so bear that in mind if you're planning to visit. It was the perfect activity for such a rainy day when walking around the city would have been difficult. 

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After a few hours in the museum we decided to get an uber to Fifth Avenue to do some shopping because we wanted to get a few presents for our nieces and nephew. We actually got a carpool again which only ended up costing $4 for both of us which saved us the 30 minute walk or trying to find the nearest subway and our 7 day subway pass had run out anyway so it made sense.

Thankfully all the shops were open late because it was about 8pm by the time we got there so we dashed around looking for presents and I made a quick final trip to Sephora to get a few things for myself and my sister. We then decided to walk around Times Square before getting the subway home because we hadn't seen it at night yet. We got some Cold Stone Creamery ice cream (which was amazing!) and just people watched for a bit before going home. It was our last night and also happened to be Cinco de Mayo so we went out for some tacos and $5 margaritas and had the perfect last night in New York.

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Our flight wasn't until 10pm on the Saturday so we had the most of the day to do a few more things before we left. We packed up and cleaned the apartment and our kind hostess let us leave our bags there until we had to go to the airport. Instead of going back into Manhattan we decided to explore a bit more of Queens. We had read about the Museum of Moving Image which is beside Kaufman Studios. Kaufman Studios was opened in 1920 and was home to Paramount Pictures for about 20 years before most of the film industry moved to Hollywood. Films and tv shows made there include Goodfellas, Sesame Street, Orange is the New Black, First Wives Club, The Wiz, Carlito's Way, The Affair, The OA, Birdman, Angels in America and many films during the Silent and Talkies eras of cinema. Being a huge film fan and having studied it in college it was so cool to be in the place where they filmed so many amazing films and tv shows. 

We both loved the Museum of Moving Image, it was $15 entry which we thought was reasonable however there is usually an bigger exhibition on as well as the usual museum exhibits that are there all year round. We had just missed the Martin Scorsese one and I was devastated to learn they were about to open their Jim Henson exhibition (which actually opens this Saturday) and has been in the works for years. I was so sad because they're apparently going to have lots of props, costumes and memorabilia from Labyrinth (which is one of my favourite films!), The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Sesame Street. It's basically my dream exhibition. It's supposed to be a permanent fixture so I'll definitely be going to see it when/if we go back to New York. 

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The actual Chewbacca head from of the the original Star Wars films, I can't remember which one!

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Marlon Brando's prosthetic teeth from The Godfather

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Makeup used in one of the Sex and the City films, not exactly cinematic greatness but interesting to any beauty fans reading this!

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Sketches and models of the sets from Silence of the Lambs which is one of my favourite films

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Robin Williams Mork costume from Mork and Mindy

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Robin William's costumes from Mrs Doubtfire

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Part of the miniature model that was used as the Tyrell Skyscraper from Blade Runner

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The head turning animatronic Linda Blair from The Exorcist

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Props from A Nightmare on Elm Street

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I loved the museum despite missing out on those other two exhibitions. It had props, sketches and memorabilia from lots of film and television including film and tv cameras from throughout the years. There was also interactive rooms which would be great for kids (we loved them too). The staff were so friendly and helpful too. I'd highly recommend visiting this museum if you're in the area. I'm so glad we got to do something like this that was a bit different than the usual New York touristy museums. 

Afterwards we went and got our last New York brunch and then our last coffee in our favourite café Astoria Coffee and went and collected our bags and got an uber to the airport. I thought JFK was a great airport, as airports go. It's kind of like a shopping centre, there's plenty of shops and places to eat. We got our last Shake Shack which was amazing and everything was pretty straight forward with travelling home which hugely helped with my travel anxiety. The only thing I would have changed is I wouldn't fly overnight again because I didn't sleep at all and therefore was awake for about 24 hours so I had to have a few hours nap when I got home. I didn't really know what to expect with the jet lag. Going over was fine because it was just like we were staying up late which I tend to do anyway. But the week after coming home I was all over the place. Thankfully I had the good sense to book a few extra days of work so that I could readjust to life after New York without jumping back into work straight away. 

So that's it (almost) for our New York adventure. Like I said already I'm going to put together a post with all of the places we ate as a sort of guide for anyone who is planning a trip to NY. I found these kinds of posts really helpful when we were planning our trip and I have lots to say about eating out and food in New York so I'm hoping some of you will find it helpful and insightful. 

To sum it all up, New York exceeded my expectations. I'm so happy we went for the length of time we did and that we stayed where we did. I don't think we'd go for as long the next time but I'd definitely stay in Queens again or perhaps Brooklyn. If you're looking to do New York on a budget there are definitely ways to do it such as staying outside of Manhattan (air bnb is the only way to go), combination tickets, finding the right places to eat, doing lots of free activities like the High Line, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge etc. Most museums have an afternoon per week where admission is free so if you time things right you can see a lot without paying anything. 

We're both dying to go back again, there's still so much I want to see and do. We did fit a lot into our trip but not too much that we were exhausted. I also think late April/ early May is a great time of year to go. I think next time I'd like to go in October. 

There's so much more I could say but I think four long blog posts with close to 200 photos is more than enough. If you haven't been to New York, then I hope reading my series of posts about it has convinced you that you need to go. I think about our trip at least a few times a days and I'm constantly looking at the photos on my phone. It was the trip of a lifetime!

If you have any questions at all please ask away and I'll help if I can. Let me know if you've been to New York and what you thought and what the best place you've ever visited is. 

Emma x


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